Updated on Mon, March 22, 2010 by Anne
On rare occasions, good writing grabs us, clutching us tightly. This moment, the writing belongs to Carolyn Lochhead, writing for the San Francisco Chronicle Washington Bureau. Just in case any of you are not clear, this is US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s moment, not President Obama’s.
Pelosi says Rahm Emmanuel wanted her to back down, taking a smaller version of health care reform that she calls “kiddie care”. Like Rep Bart Stupak and the Catholic bishops, Pelosi also has beliefs, as a devout Catholic.
Lochhead has given Pelosi the literary tribute she deserves:
In January’s darkest days, after Democrats had lost their filibuster-proof Senate majority, President Obama publicly hinted that he might vastly scale back his ambitions on health care, and top House Democrats all but declared the project dead. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said no.
“We will go through the gate,” she said. “If the gate is closed, we will go over the fence. If the fence is too high, we will pole vault in. If that doesn’t work, we will parachute in. But we are going to get health care reform passed for the American people.”
Today, thanks largely to a San Francisco Democrat driven by a profound faith in Catholicism and in the ideals of the Democratic Party, Democrats stand on the brink of enacting a $940 billion health care overhaul that they have dreamed of but failed to achieve for more than half a century.
Pelosi is gambling everything on what is expected to be a razor-thin vote: her speakership, Obama’s presidency, and the political careers of Democrats in swing districts. Polls show the public deeply divided and tilting against the legislation.
To all the men who have said that women don’t have the right stuff, that we’re chickenshit when the chips are down, you take back your words. Win or lose, Nancy Pelosi makes a mockery of the argument that women can’t play hardball and with heart.
Win or lose, Nancy Pelosi, we’re proud of you. The President is quite frankly, your guy on the sidelines at this moment.
If you win, you’ll take a bow and pass him the baton. He’ll have the headlines. Either way, you’ve won for women.